Wednesday 19 December 2007 

Moores Rues Missed Chances, Jayawardene Pleased

England coach Peter Moores conceded on Wednesday that poor fielding and bowling had left the tourists with only a slim chance of levelling their three-match series with Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka closed the second day of the final test in a strong position on 384 for six after captain Mahela Jayawardene scored an eight-hour 149 not out.

England, who won the toss and elected to field first, bowled poorly in the first session on Tuesday and then dropped several important chances on day two.

"We don't regret putting Sri Lanka into bat as the wicket has done enough for us to bowl them out, we just haven't bowled well enough," Moores told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We missed our chances on the field and I don't think we've got any excuses -- it's put Sri Lanka in a strong position.

"This morning we were hoping to get two quick wickets, put them under pressure and bowl them out, but that didn't happen.

"You can't forget Jayawardene as he is in great nick, has great powers of concentration and he played very well.

"We got to come back tomorrow and try and put some of those things right and scrap our way back into the game."

Jayawardene described his 21st test century, a Sri Lanka record, as one of his best innings in his 10-year career.

"It's one of the best knocks I've played," he said. "It was not easy batting on that wicket. There is a lot of bounce and movement for the bowlers so I had to be patient.

"We were under pressure after losing four wickets and I had to build a couple of partnerships.

"I was pleased with my concentration and also my shot selection, two areas I have improved on a lot this series.

"The wicket is deteriorating and the first priority is now batting through the morning, then we can put England under some pressure.

"There is plenty there for the bowlers and all the guys know they can give it everything and then have a good few weeks rest before the Australia one-day series."

© Reuters 2007